Leave your mark, red marks and all

We are proud to announce The Charlotte News has won “Distinguished Newspaper” in our category in The New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) “Newspaper of the Year” 2017 competition.

This was made possible by the culminating efforts of our editorial staff, business staff, board members and almost 150 contributing writers and photographers who volunteered countless hours to making our “little paper that could” truly shine this year. Look for your name! If you don’t see it and would like to, please email your story submissions to me or call me at (802) 425-4949 to throw around some story ideas. I would love to hear from you. And if I missed your name, I will run a correction in our next edition.

While I highlight the great work we have accomplished together, it brings to mind that in order to keep moving forward, some of us are fighting off self-doubt at every turn—otherwise our ambition and motivation would have hit a brick wall. Achieving this award means we pushed through, even on our worst day.

In the past year I have found that a common theme among most of our writers here has been self-doubt—the fear of making mistakes, of not being good enough, and of being rejected. I often think of my eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Keefe, who gave me my very first red marks. The paper looked as if it had been through a war. I remember it like it was yesterday. I felt like a failure that day but this teacher told me, “When you fail you learn.” He challenged me to be my best self and to leave my mark. Those first red marks in middle school were a gift because I set my sights on becoming a better writer. I set goals from then on, and I have even achieved some of them.

Author Lucy Maud Montgomery tell us, “Oh, it’s so delightful to have ambitions … and there never seems to be any end to them—that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

In the Native American culture, giving of yourself to the community is expected of everyone. Our entire team of about 200 souls here at The News gives of themselves richly in one way or another. It’s an honor to witness. I have deep and abiding gratitude for these sacrifices of time, resources and energy. Our culture often teaches us not to give anything away and to acquire as much as we can to get ahead. Apparently, this doesn’t hold true for some in our little town of Charlotte, or for this newspaper.

Here at The News we have ambition. Not for power, not to be king of the hill, but for moving forward, each on our own journey, each reaching our individual set of goals within the confines of this steadfast publication. For 60 years now the people who make this paper happen have taken great pride in a job well done. It’s the job to inform, to get it right, to highlight what works and doesn’t work in our community so hopefully amicable solutions can be found. We are one small, yet resolutely functioning, cog in the wheel that is Charlotte, Vermont. We are a remarkable group of individuals who truly care about something. It’s a noble endeavor—red marks and all.